Don't get robbed! Best printers for the money

printers.top.jpgThe HP Officejet 6000 (left) is the best inkjet on the market, while the Kodak ESP 5250 is the best all-in-one printer. By Rik Fairlie, contributor


(MONEY Magazine) -- The machine is cheap -- until you start using it every day. Ink and toner cost the average U.S. household $90 a year, according to Lyra Research. Use these tactics to trim your bill.

1. Check out page costs, not just printer costs. To calculate printing costs, divide the price of the cartridge by the number of pages it prints (most manufacturers post this on their sites). For monochrome text pages, aim for less than 3¢ a page. For color docs, a good target is 9¢ a page.

2. Stick with inkjet for versatility. Laser printers pump out crisp text at high speeds, often for 1¢ to 2¢ a page, but affordable models ($120 or so) print only in black. Popular inkjets are slower and more costly to run, but they print color documents and photos too.

Best inkjet value: The HP Officejet 6000 Wireless ($74 at Buy.com) does nothing but print, but it does that exceedingly fast and inexpensively, with great quality. Black-and-white documents cost 2.7¢ a page; color runs 9.1¢ a page. A built-in duplexer for two-sided printing helps cut paper costs.

3. Soup up your printer for just a few bucks. A basic inkjet prints documents and photos. If you want a machine that also scans, copies and faxes, you can get one for as little as $10 more. "For a bit more money, they offer a lot more functionality," says M. David Stone, an analyst at PCMag.com.

Best all-in-one: The Kodak ESP 5250 All-in-One ($110 at Amazon.com) prints black-and-white pages for 2.4¢ each; color docs are 6.7¢ a page. Replacement ink is among the cheapest you'll find: $10 for black and $18 for a five-ink color cartridge.

4. Don't be flashy. How often do you need to see crisp type and color details? Adjust your printer's default software settings to print in black. In addition, select the "draft" or "fast" mode. Save "standard" or "high" for letters, résumés, and the like.

5. Mail yourself a picture. Ordering copies of your photos online is often more economical than printing them at home. Snapfish.com offers four-by-six-inch prints for a bargain 9¢ each. Your first 20 are free, and you can pick them up at participating Wal-Marts, Walgreens, and other stores.

6. Shop smart. You can save as much as 25% by buying cartridges from sites like Amazon.com rather than printer makers' sites. Or try your local Costco or Sam's Club. Always buy large ink cartridges or packs of multiple cartridges.  To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,804.80 26.65 0.15%
Nasdaq 4,765.38 16.98 0.36%
S&P 500 2,070.65 9.42 0.46%
Treasuries 2.18 -0.03 -1.27%
Data as of 3:09am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 17.62 0.09 0.51%
Apple Inc 111.78 -0.87 -0.77%
General Electric Co 25.62 0.48 1.91%
Intel Corp 36.37 -0.65 -1.76%
Microsoft Corp 47.66 0.14 0.29%
Data as of Dec 19

Sections

New York Magazine reporter Jessica Pressler, who has been caught up in controversy this past week, will not be moving on to a new job at Bloomberg News. More

Investors beware: These 5 global crises are likely to rattle the stock market and world economy. More

Forums in dark corners of the web sell the kinds of hacks that befell Sony. More

Unilever sued Hampton Creek over its egg-free mayonnaise spread Just Mayo. But the company behind Best Foods and Hellman's mayonnaise has now dropped the lawsuit. More

The income of the top 1% jumped significantly in 2012, far outpacing inflation. Not only did this group make a larger share of the country's income, their share of total taxes also jumped from 35% to 38%. More

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.